Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

How do you react if a stranger talks to you, especially at uni? watch

    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    Do you mind when strangers start conversations with you, or talk to you? What about if another student does it at university, and even if they are the same gender as you and you are straight?

    I'm finding it awkward because I don't know what the boundaries are in the UK. I'm American and back home it's pretty normal for everyone to just talk to each other, even in a shop the strangers or even the workers will be really friendly and start talking about life. At college (university) in the US, students will also randomly talk to you, even if it is a guy starting a convo with another guy... It's a pretty different atmosphere to the UK.

    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly. Even with people on your own course they aren't that friendly or welcoming.. I've still got my American way of doing things, so just naturally even when outside I do sometimes make friendly comments but reactions were most of the time negative, they wouldn't say anything rude back, but you can tell by their facial expression and body language that it was an uncomfortable surprise to them.

    So I don't really know the boundaries in this country as to what is considered normal. Back home most people are pretty friendly and it's REALLY easy to make friends actually, and I don't get dirty looks for saying hello or any other comments to strangers. :rolleyes:
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    It's okay to make small talk. But please don't tell us about your grandma's hip operation. And please don't speak so loudly.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Do you mind when strangers start conversations with you, or talk to you? What about if another student does it at university, and even if they are the same gender as you and you are straight?

    I'm finding it awkward because I don't know what the boundaries are in the UK. I'm American and back home it's pretty normal for everyone to just talk to each other, even in a shop the strangers or even the workers will be really friendly and start talking about life. At college (university) in the US, students will also randomly talk to you, even if it is a guy starting a convo with another guy... It's a pretty different atmosphere to the UK.

    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly. Even with people on your own course they aren't that friendly or welcoming.. I've still got my American way of doing things, so just naturally even when outside I do sometimes make friendly comments but reactions were most of the time negative, they wouldn't say anything rude back, but you can tell by their facial expression and body language that it was an uncomfortable surprise to them.

    So I don't really know the boundaries in this country as to what is considered normal. Back home most people are pretty friendly and it's REALLY easy to make friends actually, and I don't get dirty looks for saying hello or any other comments to strangers. :rolleyes:
    I attend university in the US and I found the UK to be pretty unfriendly too. NYE, I was somewhere with three separate student parties going on and I met no one new. I think maybe if you have something in common with the stranger to talk about, it's okay to talk to them?

    I know exactly how you feel.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    It's purely a cultural difference, most British people are a lot more reserved, not much you can do about it really.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    You go to a southern uni over here?

    Not that northerners have it to the same extent as America, but they tend to be, not always but more often than not, more friendly than southerners and happy to talk, though not usually enough to initiate the conversation themselves.

    There's a couple of comedians put parts of their act to that difference, Jason Manford mainly.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I've lived in the UK all my life, and I actually agree with you. I'm even quite guilty myself of trying to get out of such a situation as quickly as possible, something I'm not exactly proud of and really want to change! I wish people were less reserved - after all it's so nice to meet new people! *is sappy*
    Online

    20
    ReputationRep:
    You're right - We've got an expectation that if someone we've not known for years wants to talk to us it's because they're after something... and imo it's worse in the south (as already mentioned)

    Just keep going I suppose, you must find some people are pleased to talk to you?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I'm going to try to help you.

    Type of conversation people are typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks in a normal tone of voice*
    Gentleman 2: "Oh, hey. That's the coursebook for module 232, right?"
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah."
    Gentleman 2: "Where did you get it? It's so expensive from Waterstones."
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah, I got it from Amazon instead. So, I guess you're on the same course?"
    Gentleman 2: "Yeah. I'm Mark, by the way."
    *conversation develops*

    This conversation was successful because it was relevant to something that someone was doing at that moment. There was a point in beginning a conversation (the question about the book, whether from genuine interest or not) which then developed into further discussion.

    Type of conversation people are not typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks incredibly loudly from 2ft away*
    Gentleman 2: "HEY, ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME TONIGHT? IT'S SO KOOKY HERE. WOW, BACK IN OREGON WE HAVE THIS TEAM THAT I REALLY LIKE. YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SO QUAINT. WHY DO YOU GET IN A LINE FOR THE BUS? IN MERCA WE JUST GET ON IT."
    Gentleman 1: "..."

    This conversation was not succesful because gentleman 2 talked in the stereotypical LOUUUUUD American voice, which he may not be aware he's doing. He is not talking about anything relevant, there was no natural introduction into the conversation, he just started talking about anything.

    So my big tip is to make some kind of relevant comment. Instead of going, "HI I'M ERICA" on the bus, people will be way more receptive to asking, "Hey, this bus is going to ___, right?" and then developing a conversation from that. You may not get on first name terms until a few minutes later, or not at all if you're just making small talk with someone you won't see again. It's all a game, my friends


    which I think relates to this, somewhat:

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly.
    (Original post by strawberry)
    I found the UK to be pretty unfriendly too
    You see it as being unfriendly, but what I think it really comes down to is that we're less direct, and you have to know the "rules" of conversation, as it were. Tricky business indeed. I'm sure some eventually pick it up and learn our mysterious ways. :teehee:
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    If I'm in a lecture hall or other settled environment then I don't mind mild discussion or casual commentary on something, but if I'm walking along and somebody starts speaking to me I think they're crazy... I know that's a terrible sentiment but I can't help it.

    It's weird when I have to go to small towns and everyone is smiling or saying hello, because I suddenly have to act all friendly, regardless of my mood. :erm:

    I'm from London for what it's worth.
    • Welcome Squad
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Welcome Squad
    head to rural parts and you'll find that people are the complete opposite. I sometimes consider them to nosey round where I live now
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cicerao)
    You see it as being unfriendly, but what I think it really comes down to is that we're less direct, and you have to know the "rules" of conversation, as it were. Tricky business indeed. I'm sure some eventually pick it up and learn our mysterious ways. :teehee:
    Less direct? There was NO attempt made to make friends from the 3 separate student parties. I just got inquisitive stares and then was ignored.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Do you mind when strangers start conversations with you, or talk to you? What about if another student does it at university, and even if they are the same gender as you and you are straight?

    I'm finding it awkward because I don't know what the boundaries are in the UK. I'm American and back home it's pretty normal for everyone to just talk to each other, even in a shop the strangers or even the workers will be really friendly and start talking about life. At college (university) in the US, students will also randomly talk to you, even if it is a guy starting a convo with another guy... It's a pretty different atmosphere to the UK.

    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly. Even with people on your own course they aren't that friendly or welcoming.. I've still got my American way of doing things, so just naturally even when outside I do sometimes make friendly comments but reactions were most of the time negative, they wouldn't say anything rude back, but you can tell by their facial expression and body language that it was an uncomfortable surprise to them.

    So I don't really know the boundaries in this country as to what is considered normal. Back home most people are pretty friendly and it's REALLY easy to make friends actually, and I don't get dirty looks for saying hello or any other comments to strangers. :rolleyes:
    I'm English, and I couldn't agree with you more. My advice for starting a conversation with an English person is to complain about something. Seriously, just complain about whatever's going on in your general vicinity. They'll lap it up, the masochistic idiots.

    And go to London if you get a chance. There's a sense of anonymity here that makes conversations with strangers a much more common occurrence. We are an island in a sea of antisocial misanthropes.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cicerao)
    I'm going to try to help you.

    Type of conversation people are typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks in a normal tone of voice*
    Gentleman 2: "Oh, hey. That's the coursebook for module 232, right?"
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah."
    Gentleman 2: "Where did you get it? It's so expensive from Waterstones."
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah, I got it from Amazon instead. So, I guess you're on the same course?"
    Gentleman 2: "Yeah. I'm Mark, by the way."
    *conversation develops*

    This conversation was successful because it was relevant to something that someone was doing at that moment. There was a point in beginning a conversation (the question about the book, whether from genuine interest or not) which then developed into further discussion.

    Type of conversation people are not typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks incredibly loudly from 2ft away*
    Gentleman 2: "HEY, ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME TONIGHT? IT'S SO KOOKY HERE. WOW, BACK IN OREGON WE HAVE THIS TEAM THAT I REALLY LIKE. YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SO QUAINT. WHY DO YOU GET IN A LINE FOR THE BUS? IN MERCA WE JUST GET ON IT."
    Gentleman 1: "..."

    This conversation was not succesful because gentleman 2 talked in the stereotypical LOUUUUUD American voice, which he may not be aware he's doing. He is not talking about anything relevant, there was no natural introduction into the conversation, he just started talking about anything.

    So my big tip is to make some kind of relevant comment. Instead of going, "HI I'M ERICA" on the bus, people will be way more receptive to asking, "Hey, this bus is going to ___, right?" and then developing a conversation from that. You may not get on first name terms until a few minutes later, or not at all if you're just making small talk with someone you won't see again. It's all a game, my friends
    This, a million times over.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cicerao)
    I'm going to try to help you.

    Type of conversation people are typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks in a normal tone of voice*
    Gentleman 2: "Oh, hey. That's the coursebook for module 232, right?"
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah."
    Gentleman 2: "Where did you get it? It's so expensive from Waterstones."
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah, I got it from Amazon instead. So, I guess you're on the same course?"
    Gentleman 2: "Yeah. I'm Mark, by the way."
    *conversation develops*

    This conversation was successful because it was relevant to something that someone was doing at that moment. There was a point in beginning a conversation (the question about the book, whether from genuine interest or not) which then developed into further discussion.

    Type of conversation people are not typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks incredibly loudly from 2ft away*
    Gentleman 2: "HEY, ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME TONIGHT? IT'S SO KOOKY HERE. WOW, BACK IN OREGON WE HAVE THIS TEAM THAT I REALLY LIKE. YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SO QUAINT. WHY DO YOU GET IN A LINE FOR THE BUS? IN MERCA WE JUST GET ON IT."
    Gentleman 1: "..."

    This conversation was not succesful because gentleman 2 talked in the stereotypical LOUUUUUD American voice, which he may not be aware he's doing. He is not talking about anything relevant, there was no natural introduction into the conversation, he just started talking about anything.

    So my big tip is to make some kind of relevant comment. Instead of going, "HI I'M ERICA" on the bus, people will be way more receptive to asking, "Hey, this bus is going to ___, right?" and then developing a conversation from that. You may not get on first name terms until a few minutes later, or not at all if you're just making small talk with someone you won't see again. It's all a game, my friends


    which I think relates to this, somewhat:




    You see it as being unfriendly, but what I think it really comes down to is that we're less direct, and you have to know the "rules" of conversation, as it were. Tricky business indeed. I'm sure some eventually pick it up and learn our mysterious ways. :teehee:
    Haha, spot on. You should teach those "what chat up lines can I use to bang a girl" clowns who pop up every hour on H&R . There must be hundreds of those threads in the archives, you just have to find something relevant to ask or speak about
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cicerao)
    I'm going to try to help you.

    Type of conversation people are typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks in a normal tone of voice*
    Gentleman 2: "Oh, hey. That's the coursebook for module 232, right?"
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah."
    Gentleman 2: "Where did you get it? It's so expensive from Waterstones."
    Gentleman 1: "Yeah, I got it from Amazon instead. So, I guess you're on the same course?"
    Gentleman 2: "Yeah. I'm Mark, by the way."
    *conversation develops*

    This conversation was successful because it was relevant to something that someone was doing at that moment. There was a point in beginning a conversation (the question about the book, whether from genuine interest or not) which then developed into further discussion.

    Type of conversation people are not typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks incredibly loudly from 2ft away*
    Gentleman 2: "HEY, ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME TONIGHT? IT'S SO KOOKY HERE. WOW, BACK IN OREGON WE HAVE THIS TEAM THAT I REALLY LIKE. YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SO QUAINT. WHY DO YOU GET IN A LINE FOR THE BUS? IN MERCA WE JUST GET ON IT."
    Gentleman 1: "..."

    This conversation was not succesful because gentleman 2 talked in the stereotypical LOUUUUUD American voice, which he may not be aware he's doing. He is not talking about anything relevant, there was no natural introduction into the conversation, he just started talking about anything.
    I agree with this in that a relevant conversation point is better than something unrelated, but would feel concerned if anyone tried to form a friendship with me on a bus or other public space. University or some sort or arena where it is known preemptively that something in common is held between the two parties would be the most appropriate place in my view.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by strawberry)
    Less direct? There was NO attempt made to make friends from the 3 separate student parties. I just got inquisitive stares and then was ignored.
    Well, I won't speak for anyone else here, but I'd consider it a bit odd to consider yourself someone's friend after you only met them on that one night. From my perception, most prefer a bit of banter, bit of small talk and then leave it at that, since a party's for...well, partying, dancing and so. BUT then, after the party, you see them the next week: "Hey, remember me? New Year's Eve." "Ahh, yeah! You went to the party too. Sarah, yeah?"

    Basically what it comes down to is that we don't act all chummy to everyone. Not 'cause we hate you or anything, we just prefer to build up a bit of rapport or sense that we know someone before we let our guards down.


    (Original post by n1r4v)
    Haha, spot on. You should teach those "what chat up lines can I use to bang a girl" clowns who pop up every hour on H&R . There must be hundreds of those threads in the archives, you just have to find something relevant to ask or speak about
    :rofl:

    "Is that the coursebook for the course? Cool. Are you gonna bang doe?"
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whyumadtho)
    I agree with this in that a relevant conversation point is better than something unrelated, but would feel concerned if anyone tried to form a friendship with me on a bus or other public space. University or some sort or arena where it is known preemptively that something in common is held between the two parties would be the most appropriate place in my view.
    Whos the babby in the avatar. I always see him in chops
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Oh good, I thought it was just me who experienced this. Was sure there was something I was doing wrong why everyone was always so unfriendly and unreceptive to attempts at friendly conversation.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by n1r4v)
    Whos the babby in the avatar. I always see him in chops
    Apparent origins and some more pictures on this Facebook group. :P
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cicerao)
    Well, I won't speak for anyone else here, but I'd consider it a bit odd to consider yourself someone's friend after you only met them on that one night. From my perception, most prefer a bit of banter, bit of small talk and then leave it at that, since a party's for...well, partying, dancing and so. BUT then, after the party, you see them the next week: "Hey, remember me? New Year's Eve." "Ahh, yeah! You went to the party too. Sarah, yeah?"

    Basically what it comes down to is that we don't act all chummy to everyone. Not 'cause we hate you or anything, we just prefer to build up a bit of rapport or sense that we know someone before we let our guards down.
    Had none of that at all. No attempt to make small banter. Like I said, just inquisitive stares and then occasional stares over the night. I don't expect us to be best friends, obviously, but NO attempt whatsoever NONE? It was 3 separate student parties in the same venue at the same time on NYE ... I was extremely surprised that I didn't meet anybody new. Even when they heard my accent, there was no interest at all.

    10 days in the UK and I was ready for the US again.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: April 12, 2011
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.